By Team Best Life
Spring is in the air and so is the smell of smoky, mouth-watering barbecue! As you prepare to pick up your spatula and fire up the grill follow these six barbecue basics for a healthy and tasty meal:
Look for lean.
Opt for lean meats to keep calories and fat in check. Try burgers made with lean beef (95 percent), buffalo burgers with naturally lean ground buffalo meat, turkey burgers, or veggie burgers (try this tasty recipe). As for steak, look for T-bone or different cuts of sirloin and flank steaks, or buffalo steaks, which are naturally lean. And don’t forget to remove the skin from poultry; it’s loaded with fat.
Think beyond the standard barbecue bites.
Burgers and hotdogs aren’t the only foods that taste great on the grill. Try marinated tofu, fish, fruits like peaches or grapefruit and veggies such as sweet peppers, onions, fennel, or summer squash. Whole leaves of hearty greens such as kale or lettuce or wedges of cabbage or radicchio are delicious on the grill, so get creative!
Don’t overcook your food.
Cooking food over a high, open flame can produce cancer-causing substances. You can reduce your exposure by cooking food to the appropriate temperature—blackened, charred food contains higher amounts of these chemicals. Marinating your food, using lower-fat meats and flipping frequently can also help reduce the amount of chemicals formed during the cooking process. For more stay-safe grilling tips, click here.
Make condiments count.
Save calories by choosing your condiments wisely. Opt for whole-grain buns or even a whole wheat English muffin or pita bread. Mustard and vinaigrette are is lower in calories and fat than mayonnaise or ketchup. Don’t forget to top your meal with some fresh veggies, such as sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and onions.
Be a savvy sipper.
Barbecue and booze go together like peanut butter and jelly. But beware—the calories in beer can add up quickly. Depending on your beer of choice, it can cost anywhere from 80 to 200 calories per 12 ounces. Stick with one drink if you’re a woman, two if you’re a man. Or opt for healthier drinks, like herbal iced tea, ice water with lemon and lime, or club soda with a splash of pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lime.